Neck Pain: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Man with neck pain. Neck pain symptoms and treatment options at Vitality Physical Medicine in Davenport, IA
Man with neck pain. Neck pain symptoms and treatment options at Vitality Physical Medicine in Davenport, IA

A Pain in the Neck: What Causes It and What Can You Do About It?

Neck pain can come on suddenly (acute) or can persist for several weeks or months (chronic). Many of us will experience either acute or chronic neck pain at some point in our lives. A physiatrist, like Dr. Joseph Brooks, DO, can help you diagnose and manage your neck pain by taking a multi-disciplinary approach to address the causes of your pain and determine the best course of action to alleviate your pain, hopefully avoiding surgery if possible.

Common Symptoms

The neck, or the cervical spine, is the first seven vertebrae of your spine which are connected by a type of joint called facet joints. The neck also includes muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. It protects the spinal cord and supports your head.

Patients who suffer from neck pain may have any of the following symptoms:

  • Muscle stiffness or soreness
  • Stabbing pain
  • Radiating pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Headache
  • Decreased range of motion

Causes of Neck Pain

A variety of things can cause this type of pain, including:

  • Sleeping in a certain position
  • Whiplash from an accident or sports injury
  • Certain postures at work or home
  • Cervical Radiculopathy (pinched nerve)
  • Cervical Myofascial Pain (tender areas)
  • Cervical Dystonia (muscles in the neck contract involuntarily)
  • Osteoporosis

At-Home Treatments

  • Rest
  • Heat or ice
  • Over the counter medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Massage

Treatment for Neck Pain Your Doctor May Suggest

When to call a doctor

If you experience a traumatic fall or injury, fever, chills, severe headache, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, or muscle weakness in your arms or legs, you should seek medical attention immediately.

If your neck pain and associated stiffness or soreness has not been alleviated with home remedies, has worsened, or is interfering with your daily life, it may be time to call your doctor.

Dr. Joseph Brooks, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, can assess your neck pain, help you determine the cause, and work with you to alleviate your pain without resorting to surgery whenever possible. To be evaluated for your neck pain at Vitality Physical Medicine, call our office at 563-424-6400.

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